The Border Security Force (BSF) shot dead two Indian smugglers during a brief exchange of fire near Border Out Post (BOP) Khalra in the Bhikiwind sector of Tarn Taran district on Tuesday night.
A pistol with a magazine and seven cartridges were recovered from the slain smugglers, whose identity is not known yet.
This is the first case this year of Indian smugglers being gunned down by the BSF along the Punjab frontier. In all previous encounters this year, eight Pakistani intruders were killed.
BSF deputy inspector general (DIG) MF Farooqui said BSF jawans on duty at BOP Khalra noticed some movement close to the barbed wire fence, around midnight.
He said there was movement on either side of the fence.
From their movements, the BSF jawans were able to gauge that the intruders were smugglers. They were trying to throw 'something' across the fence, he said.
When the BSF jawans sounded a warning, the smugglers opened fire and the two smugglers, who were on the BOP side of the fence, were shot dead.
However, smugglers on the other side sneaked back into Pakistan territory along with the contraband they were trying to throw, the DIG said.
He supposed that the two slain smugglers had prior knowledge of it as information is usually exchanged over mobile phones. Devices with Pakistani SIM cards seized from Indian smugglers on previous occasions proved this, he said.
In 2013, the BSF gunned down seven Pakistani intruders and three Indian smugglers along the Punjab border.
In 2014, the BSF apprehended 10 Pakistanis who sneaked into Indian territory, while 2013’s figure was 22.
This year 30 Indian nationals including 8 smugglers were also apprehended while they were trying to sneak into Pakistan territory, while last year 21 such Indians were apprehended.
Bangladeshis, trying to sneak into Pakistan, have also been caught often by the BSF. Last year, six were caught and this year one Bangladeshi has been apprehended so far.